GOZU Three Slimes
Rated - 18
Copyright 2004 Tartan Asia Extreme
Reviewed by Jimmi Campkin
The Characters -
Minami He starts the film a virgin and by the end of it, I wouldn't blame him if he never had sex again. Just how many people DID he disclose his foreskin operation to anyway?
Ozaki Absolutely bonkers Yakuza who thinks everything is a Yakuza killing device. Yakuza killing dogs. Yakuza killing cars. Ends up giving birth to himself.. herself.. Argh! My head..
Female Ozaki You know all those love songs where the main refrain is 'Never Let You Go...'?
Nose Odd man with a ying-yang face. He has no pigment on one side, so it looks like he's face-planted into a bowl of flour and not bothered to wash it away.
Innkeeper Woman She runs a hotel that I cannot imagine anyone ever staying in. To supplement her income, she lactates into bottles and sells it to the local townspeople. No, I'm not going to explain. Not yet anyway.
Innkeeper's Brother He spends most of his screen time lurking in the shadows and talking quietly, presumably to keep his secret gift as a spirit medium under wraps. If you saw what he had to go through during a seance, you'd understand exactly why he wants to keep it under wraps.
Boss If he ever invites you back to his house for soup, decline politely. Or impolitely. Just don't do it.
Ford Mustang I've always liked that shape. I know it isn't a real character, but I thought it was worth a mention.
Various Other Nameless People Including a blind man who disposes of bodies, a man who collects skin, several people engrossed in a conversation about the weather, a vacant woman with a nosebleed, an American woman who cannot speak Japanese and a man with breasts and terrible flatulence.
The Plot -
Ohhhh man. Where do you begin with GOZU? Okay, we'll get the basic plot out of the way. Ozaki is a Yakuza who has clearly not got a full deck. His violent and unpredictable paranoia escalates to the point where the local Boss decides that enough is enough. He assigns Minami, Ozaki's young assistant, to drive him to Nagoya where he will be killed.
Ozaki sits in the back of the car asking why they are going to Nagoya whilst Minami struggles with his conflicting emotions; torn between his relationship with Ozaki and his distress at Ozaki's behaviour. He is in the middle of this struggle when he runs out of road and has to slam the brakes on, propelling an unwitting Ozaki into the windscreen 'killing' him. At that moment, Minami gets a call (assuming that the hit has taken place by now), telling him where to dispose of Ozaki. He drives to a small town and pulls up in a cafe to take stock of his situation, leaving Ozaki in the back seat.
Whilst he is in there, Ozaki disappears. Minami asks around but the locals are anything but helpful. As he tries to drive away to look for his old mentor, Minami gets a puncture. He finds a man called Nose who offers to help him look for Ozaki. During this time, Nose checks Minami into a strange hotel where he is plagued by strange dreams and even stranger realities. Finally he gets a hint that Ozaki has been spotted at a wrecking yard, where the owners inform him that a body resembling Ozaki was dropped off but he was disposed of.
Minami is taking stock of this when he finds a young woman in his car who calls herself Ozaki. She proves this by rattling off a load of facts that Minami had told Ozaki in private, mainly about his genitals. Minami is understandably confused but soon starts to have feelings for the Female Ozaki. Minami brings the Female Ozaki back to the Boss who tries to seduce her. Minami interrupts their unusual coitus, killing the Boss (not Bruce Springsteen), and has his wicked way with her.. him.. it. The ending.. well, I'll leave the ending for your curiosity.
In case you haven't already guessed, this is not a normal film. To be honest, films involving Miike Takashi are rarely anything other than warped, but even for him this is a disturbing and surreal experience. I've glossed over the plot, so now I'm just going to pick three completely random scenes and describe them for you. These aren't out of the ordinary, I've just chosen them at will.
Minami is bathing when the female Innkeeper (who is in her sixties) enters and offers to wash him herself. When he refuses, she whips his towel away and remarks about how good his penis is. She then squeezes her breasts and she lactates down her leg. Later on, Minami interrupts her filling up bottles with her milk which we see a number of townspeople tucking into.
The Boss (still not Bruce Springsteen) starts to get frisky with the Female Ozaki when he stops preceedings to attend to a small matter of external stimulation. He then goes to his large collection of soup ladles and wooden spoons that all appear to be planted in different model 'volcanoes' and have different labels (such as 'Hard') depending on how he is going to make love. He then jams the item of cutlery up his backside and proceeds to get down to business. Minami interrupts this and actually kills him by (firstly) forcing him to sit down on it, and then putting several volts through him.
Ozaki is disturbed by two women who are chatting outside of a restaurant holding a small dog. Ozaki tells the other Yakuza to watch out for the dog because it is a special Yakuza killing dog. They indulge him for a moment, but start to show more concern when he storms outside and attacks the dog, hurling it against the pavement and then the plate glass window of the restaurant in front of the horrified Yakuza.
The main point of this film is as a vehicle for Miike Takashi's somewhat unique sense of humour. And it is full of subliminal imagery with allegories towards repressed homosexuality, reincarnation and Minami's desire to find a mother figure in the absence of the 'father' Ozaki. The film is more a series of short and surreal skits where the actors were apparently just given a beginning and an end and were told to improvise everything in between. Often it feels like a dream, which I believe was the intention of the director. And it also contains one of the more unusual and disturbing 'WHAT THE HELL' endings in cinema history. You will still be gibbering like a lunatic when the credits are rolling.
This sort of 'art' film, with its heavy psychological and surreal imagery, is hard to categorize. It really is a film that you will either love and watch over and over again, or you will turn your nose up at it for being pretentious. The only thing I will say against the latter is that none of the allegories or hidden messages are particularly thrown in your face. You can just take it at face value as a very strange piece of nonsense. As a consequence I've given it just three slimes; although I do think it deserves more, I also appreciate that it won't be to everyone's tastes.
All I know is; this film was legendary amongst my housemates at Uni (none of whom got a hint of the hidden meanings). GOZU became a byword for something being extremely screwed up. It was a sort of high water mark where nothing else could compare for sheer oddness. The house would often echo with groans and shrieks as someone did or said something outrageous, followed by the inevitable Dude, that's almost as f*cked up as GOZU!
Things I Learned From This Movie -
-When driving long distances in Japan, take a packed lunch. Don't stop anywhere or eat anything.
-Dogs and cars are some of the more subtle anti-Yakuza devices.
-No one in Japan is Lactose intolerant.
-The Japanese Government have had to make cut backs in funding for bridge repair companies and highway maintenance.
-Transsexuals suffer from trapped wind and random bouts of screaming.
-A Ford Mustang can stop on a dime, so buckle up.
-Do thorough research before booking your hotel. Check for any signs of milk staining.
-Spiritual mediums are like a piρata. The more you hit them, the more information they will impart.
-If I never see a glass of milk again, it will be too soon.
-Miike Takashi has some sort of deep seeded birth trauma.
Innkeeper - There's no need to hide it. It's a good one!
Ozaki - How did your foreskin operation go?
Stuff To Watch Out For -
(I promise; I did try and keep these to a minimum, but it is difficult with a film of this nature).
5mins RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A DOG! AHAHAHAHA!
19mins That man has breasts..
21mins I've been in a few English service stations that are much like this. Only not as friendly.
40mins I wouldn't care if this hotel had Michelin stars, a jacuzzi and hot and cold running hookers. I would never stay in a place where the owner beckons you to sleep in 'that room..'
46mins Only recently? I think ALL guests would say no to an offer to suckle your breasts. Not that I imagine many make it through the night though.
52mins NO! NO NO NO! Do NOT drink that.
55mins What gave it away that it was him? Was it the face perchance?
64mins RANDOM ACTS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST A SPIRIT MEDIUM (allegedly)
75mins I bet Pepsi are happy with that name check given the nature of this scene...
76mins RANDOM GRATUITOUS AND DISTURBING BREAST SHOT
82mins I don't know why, but that camera-work reminded me of some scenes from Evil Dead 2.
84mins Anyone who is watching this for the first time, wherever you are.. I wish I could see the look on your face right now.
85mins Not that this embrace could be any more disgusting, but he called her 'sis' earlier...
90mins If Leatherface and his family ever opened a dry cleaners...
96mins RANDOM ACT OF VIOLENCE AGAINST AN OPPORTUNISTIC TRUCK DRIVER!
101mins Is her..? well... um.. her private lady area. Is it talking..?
110mins This man is crying out for a golf caddy.
120mins Yeah. I remember my first time as well.
127mins You can pick your jaws up off the floor now.
128mins And they all lived happily ever after! The Hell They Did!?